An Essay And Article On Crown And Responsibilities
The history of mankind is an unending story of struggles and conflicts, of competitions and confrontations and of battles and wars, which men have been waging since the inception of civilization for the possession of pelf, power and position. In fact, power and authority attract people more than anything else in life. They make for social prestige and status in society. They vest one with capability to rule over others. The crown, which stands for all that, certainly symbolizes the top position in society which men of caliber want to reach. The charms of a crown, that is, of power, position and authority are great indeed, but the aches and pains that accompany them are greater. A ruler or any man in authority is always surrounded by anxieties, tensions and stresses.
A poor farmer who works in the field from morning till evening, a laborer who sweats all over throughout the day in a factory or a mine, a mason who lays bricks and mortar and constructs the building by pressing into service all his exertion and artisan ship all the day long, all who minister to the god of physical labour all the waking hours, retire to bed tired in body but fresh in spirit and enjoy sound sleep in the night, but those in authority, those who are entrusted with responsibility in direct proportion to authority often pass sleepless nights. Power and position are accompanied by tensions galore, anxieties innumerable and worries endless. It is, therefore, correct to hold with Shakespeare that uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Power and responsibility go together, or, in other words, authority and responsibility is co-terminus. Those who are vested with power are liable to feel the pinch which responsibility entails.
Power Of A Crown
Power without responsibility is an abnormal situation. Irresponsible rulers are an exception rather than a rule. In normal situations every person in authority comes to have a sense of responsibility. Trouble arises when a person vested with authority fails to perform his responsibility owing to any hurdle or impediment. His mind feels a sort of uneasiness due to anxiety and worry. Another factor causing this uneasiness is the fear of losing the position. A man in authority, therefore, is tossed between what he is expected to do and what he actually is in a position to do. A cleavage between the two taxes his mind and creates mental tension. Still another factor is the fact of the person in authority being pitted against the expectations of the people he rules or commands.
If he does not come upto their expectations, they may rise in revolt against him posing a veritable threat to his position and power which he naturally is not willing to part with. Evidently he is smitten with worry and anxiety which disturb the tranquility and peace of mind. The most important factor, however, is the unreliability of those who are in subordination to him. Despite his best intentions and efforts, those below in the line of hierarchy may cause a jam between decision and implementation, the person in authority alone being held responsible for the failure of plans and projects. Whatever goes awry is attributed to the incompetence, inefficiency and unfitness of the authority-wielding person. The irresponsible rulers or dictators may crush any voice of protest or opposition or dissent but the responsible ones have to bear the brunt of the ire of the people or that of the person or persons of higher authority.
Things become worse confounded when a tribe of enemies crops up against the ruler or the administrator. A sense of loneliness and friendlessness haunts him causing him utter mental affliction and agony. The time is short, but the promises many and with hostile people conspiring all around, the person in authority finds himself helpless in delivering the goods, a situation which in most cases becomes unbearable. There is no wonder, therefore, that even great potentates and rulers possessed of all powers and authority a state or a kingdom may offer had to abdicate their throne and take to asceticism. The lives of great persons wielding supreme authority in state affairs bear eloquent testimony to the fact that trials and tribulations and adversities insurmountable afflicted them beyond description. The life of King Harish Chandra was an unhappy saga of indescribable calamity. Persons of weaker character could have been broken to pieces by the onslaughts of a hostile misfortune which he so gladly endured.
From kingship to the abysmal depth of penury and indignities, from the citadel of universal monarchy to the unwelcome home of the lowest caste, entrusted with the job of looking after the cremation ground, with wife sold and son lost, the breathtaking collapse from the highest to the lowest, all for purposes of ensuring public weal, king Harish Chandra’s life illustrates in a vivid measure the unspeakable misfortunes of the great. King Dasratha was helpless in preventing his beloved son Rama’s exile. All his authority, supreme in every respect, could not ride roughshod over the requirements of duty. Even Rama’s life story was written in tears and agony. Fourteen years of exile with the wife abducted, recovered and then exiled, all his life he was called upon to sacrifice his own pleasure and happiness for the sake of the welfare of the subjects and respect for public opinion.
King Dhratrashtra saw before his own eyes the extermination, one by one of all his hundred sons; with Draupadi, the queen of the mighty Panda vas, having to face the bereavement of her five fine sons, could Yudhishtar’s ascent to the throne following the end of Mahabharata war, diminish the utter pangs of sorrow he had to pass through. The Roman emperor Julius Caesar, for all his absolute authority, had his life riven with anxieties galore owing to the hostile people indulging in intrigues all around, which in fact culminated in his assassination. The crown of the imperial authority gave him only affliction and no peace at all. Chandra Gupta Maurya had cherished a dream of establishing an empire in the place of the Nanda Empire. He did succeed in his mission, but could he enjoy an undisturbed sway over his vast dominions?
The troubles of his empire snatched all peace from him and ultimately he abdicated and took to asceticism. His grandson Ashoka, whom H.G. Wells has called the greatest of the great of the monarchs the history has ever produced, got disillusioned with the unchallenged exercise of his imperial authority and found peace only in Buddhism and the life of renunciation. The great Rajput warrior and prince, Prithvi Raj Chauhan underwent all torments and tortures inflicted upon him by an adversary whom he had defeated a number of times. Maharana Pratap was forced to live among Aravalli hills; the circumstances compelled him and his family to eat loaves made from grass. His concern for the freedom and independence of his country and the defense of the motherland did not allow him any rest, mental or physical, throughout his entire career as a ruler.
Shahjahan had to suffer indignities at the hands of his own son Aurangzeb. To Aurangzeb himself the empire proved to be a bed of thorns. The complexities of governance of his dominions weighed so heavily upon the powerful emperor Mohammad Tuglaq that he went practically mad. To the mighty Napoleon too the crown of France was inlaid inside with thorns of iron. Not for a moment perhaps did he enjoy the calm of mind and the peace of spirit. How painful indeed must have been his exile in the loneliness of the island of St. Helena, which ended only with his exit from this mortal world! To Hitler too the vast German empire was made of piercing shafts and sharp javelins amid which he had to live and ultimately die. The last days of his life were marked by an unprecedented mental torture and agony. Mussolini too had an ignominious exit from the Italian throne.
Among the moderns such mighty rulers as Indira Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh and the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin didn’t enjoy peace for any good period of time. As in life so in literature the greatest writers of the world have depicted the fortune playing curious tricks with the protagonists. The hero occupying the seat of power is riven with conflicts, internal and external, so intense and perplexing that he hardly enjoys a sound sleep. From the moment he ascends the throne till the time of his final exit from the stage of life he is wounded by the slings and arrows of an outrageous fortune. In this crowded world he finds himself alone with no one to be trusted and relied upon. King Lear faces this predicament which pushes him into an ever gnawing lunacy. Macbeth finds treachery all around as he himself indulged in the evil to gain the throne.
Upto the last moment of his life his soul finds no peace, no tranquility and no rest at all. In the Greek tragedy of ‘Qedipus’ the hero is tom by a prolonged conflict which ultimately takes his life. All that has been said above proves the truth of the dictum: uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. But is there a cure for this uneasiness? Can the rulers or those in positions of authority be relieved from this state of affairs? Can one have both power and position and a comfortable living and peace of mind? These are questions which have defied solution. Tensions, stresses and uneasiness are the concomitants of authority. They cannot be separated. One who aspires for the crown must remain prepared to face the sea of troubles and the army of sorrows. Even then there is a possibility of their rigors being diminished in intensity and reduced in effect, if not removed altogether.
Take measures suggested below To Serve With Responsibilities Of A Crown
In the first place, the person in authority must make ‘the purity of means’ as the guiding principle of his life. If the means are pure, they will lead ultimately to good ends. There is an inviolable connection between the means and the end. As the means so the end. Infected means would lead to infected ends. Crooked diplomacy, deceit and treachery to gain the objective may succeed for sometime, but in the long run it will create adverse conditions for one who practices them. One who forsakes this principle forfeits the support of cosmic forces even in ventures which have a good end in view.
Secondly, the cultivation of detachment in life can solve many of our difficulties. We have but to do our duty, and leave the result to the care of the gods. Lord Krishna preaches this principle to Arjuna, who wishes to be freed from fear, indecision and mental perplexity. The river of life flows on continuously and those who are born are simply the instruments, and nothing more, in the hands of Destiny which would like to put them to different uses.
Thirdly, the person in authority should abide by certain time-tested administrative principles. Greater and greater delegation of authority and responsibility, more and more decentralization of power and wider democratization with larger and larger amount of autonomy granted to those below in the line of hierarchy may take away a lot of headache from the person vested with supreme authority.
Fourthly, a liberal outlook, positive attitude and an enlightened and human approach to things may beget trust, faith and loyalty of those below and aid in the solution of most intractable problems, thus going a long way in efficaciously reducing tensions and uneasiness born of them.
Fifthly, the ever present consciousness that power or authority is a means to an end and not an end in itself will enable its wielder to use his best powers of judgment, prudence and circumspection, saving him from many pitfalls which ultimately become the causes of tension and unrest both within and without. As said above these measures may simply diminish or soothe uneasiness but may not go any further. The truth will always remain that uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
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